breakfast, entree, egg
chicken broth, cilantro, cornstarch, egg, garlic, green onion, meats, peanut oil, seafood, sesame oil, sherry, soy sauce, vegetables, white pepper
Egg Foo Yung always makes me think of the 1950's beat generation, for some reason. Perhaps it is because that was the time it seemed to be most popular. Women wore capri pants, Allen Ginsberg was writing "Howl" and Jack Kerouac was on the road. In cities like New York and San Francisco, subgum Egg Foo Yung became a popular late night bohemian meal and could be found for just a few cents at any Chinese restaurant. Soon, the middle-class ladies' magazines were touting it as an exotic easy-to-prepare family dish and it found its way into mainstream households.
But before long, the appeal of Egg Foo Yung was replaced by TV dinners, macaroni & cheese in a box, and other newfangled foods. As happens when a food becomes trendy, it soon becomes un-trendy, and Egg Foo Yung was discarded as a popular meal. It remains on many traditional Chinese restaurant menus, but you would never see it in the hipper Asian eateries on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles or in Old Town Pasadena.
Too bad. Egg Foo Yung is simple to prepare but can be quite complex in taste, with delicate flavorings mingling harmoniously. I feel it is time for this dish to make a comeback. Like any good meal, the quality of the ingredients is essential to the quality of the dish. Choose only fresh, crisp vegetables. The meats or seafood can be leftovers, and in many cases taste better the next day, but be sure they marry well with the flavors of the vegetables. Concentrate on Asian seasonings, lest your eggs be mistaken for a Western omelette. and keep in mind that color makes a dish as pleasing to the eye as it does to the palate. Simple as it may be, Egg Foo Yung can be a very an elegant, light meal at any time of day or night.
Cut the meats and vegetables into small pieces of approximately the same size, diced or julienned. Beat the eggs with the soy sauce, sherry, garlic and white pepper. Stir in the vegetables and meats.
In a 7-inch skillet (preferably non-stick), heat 1 teaspoon peanut oil over medium heat. Pour in 1/4 of the egg mixture. Cook over medium heat until the bottom is browned and the top almost set. Flip the omelette over and quickly brown the other side for just a few seconds. Repeat this process until you have made 4 omelettes. (You may want to use 2 pans.) Tent the cooked omelettes with foil to keep them warm.
In the same skillet, make the sauce by heating the sesame oil, chicken broth, soy sauce and sherry to boiling. Blend the cornstarch with water, then stir the mixture into the pan. Bring back to boiling and cook for 1 minute, or until the sauce is thickened. Stir in the green onions.
To serve, pour a small amount of the sauce over each omelette and garnish with cilantro sprigs.
A particularly tasty way of serving this dish is to top the cooked omelette with some fresh, crunchy vegetables. For instance, a favorite of mine is to cook julienned ham, red bell pepper, snow peas and mushrooms with the eggs. After the omelettes are cooked, I top them with raw julienned red pepper and fresh bean sprouts, both of which add flavor, color and crunch. The dish is finished off with a bit of the sauce, which adds more color from the green onions, and a few sprigs of cilantro or parsley on the side enhance the overall look. The simple addition of the colorful, raw vegetables elevates this dish into one with true yin yang balance, an element essential to good Chinese cooking.
©1994, 1998, 2007 Katherine Heyhoe. All rights reserved.
This Archived Page created between 1994 and 2001. Modified August 2007
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